Georgia, Georgia, No Peace I Find

Language Log, the multiple author blog on — what else? — language, continues to surprise, this time with an entry on a treason trial in Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state). Roger Shuy, a retired but very active linguistics professor, discusses his role in the trial of Maia Topuria, a leader of an opposition party in Georgia who was accused of plotting to overthrow the government. ((His article points to these sources of information on the trial: Christian Science Monitor, Russia Today, and two pieces in Harper’s: . ))

His specialty is forensic linguistics, and in this case he was asked by the defence to analyse eleven witness statements given to the government and used as evidence of Topuria’s guilt. It’s fascinating to see how he compared statements to extract proofs that these documents were not the product of independent thought but, rather, the work of the government.

If forensic linguistics interests you, you might like to take a look at a video of a talk he gave on that topic to a University of Montana Law School class.

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